October 20, 2016
Last season saw victories, Globes won and clean sweeps of the podium as the 2015 - 2016 HEAD World Cup Rebels tore through the Alpine Skiing World Cup. By the time the season wound up in St Moritz, Lindsey Vonn had won the Downhill Globe, Wendy Holdener the Women’s Alpine Combined and Alexis Pinturault the Men’s Alpine Combined, Lara Gut had secured the Super G Globe and the Overall Globe. As a team the award for the most successful manufacturer stayed with HEAD as well! But this is the 2016 - 2017 HEAD World Cup Rebels we are introducing!
When you have a winning product then people want to join the team. This year Canadian, Manuel Osborne-Paradis joins the Rebels; he moves to HEAD after just missing the podium in the last regular season downhill in Kvitfjel last season. With three World Cup wins to his name, as well as eight other podium placings, Osborne-Paradis has renewed enthusiasm for battling it out at the top of the sport again. Osborne-Paradis explained why he has switched to the leading brand on the World Cup: “After a decade of World Cup racing on one ski brand I've decided to see what another brand can offer. I've decided that this brand will be HEAD. HEAD has an amazing race team on the ski hill and more importantly behind the scenes in their boot and ski factory. I'm very excited with this new relationship and can't wait to see the results we can achieve together.”
Also joining the speed team is the current Super Combined Olympic Champion, Sandro Viletta. After announcing his move, Viletta explained that: “I am extremely pleased and am top motivated for the upcoming season to attack with the HEAD team.” Viletta won the Super Combined Gold Medal at the Sochi Olympics one year after finishing fifth in the Schladming World Championships in the same event. Viletta lives near to St Moritz and will be looking to use the home slope knowledge to his advantage at the 2017 World Championships in St Moritz after recovering from a right knee injury that saw him miss most of the 2015 - 2016 season.
While double Overall, double Giant Slalom and Super Combined World Cup Champion (as well as Gold and Silver winner in the Olympics and three time World Champion) Anna Veith has re-signed with HEAD after also announcing Anna Fenninger became Mrs Veith in the summer. Veith will be looking to retain her Giant Slalom and Super G Crowns in St Moritz this February.
Joining the strong female programme are Norwegian Ragnhild Mowinckel and Slalom specialist Bernadette Schild joins as well. Mowinckel will be looking to add to and improve on her World Cup best of fifth this season as well as improving on her 9th in the Alpine Combined in the World Championships. Expect big things from Mowinckel this winter.
Schild joins the slalom programme looking to improve on her 16 place in the Slalom World Cup Standings. The 26 year old finished 12th in the Schaldming World Championship Slalom and has a best finish of second on the World Cup. Having won her last Slalom in Cornet Peak over the sum-mer, Schild has got the winning feeling back.
So the new season will see Lindsey Vonn, Anna Veith plus Ted Ligety and Aksel Lund Svindal all back to their full strength. Dustin Cook also sat out last season and he is also looking forward to being back on his HEAD skis fighting for top results on the World Cup.
Lindsey Vonn (Downhill), Lara Gut (Super G and Overall) and Wendy Holdener (Alpine Com-bined) won the Globes for the team last year. As a team, the HEAD World Cup Rebel athletes won 38 races across the season, with 25 Runners-Up spots and 16 Third place places on the podium.
While Vonn looked imperious in the speed races as she locked down her 20th career Globe early on in the season, she did not have it all her own way as Lara Gut proved to be the headline act through the latter part of the season in taking the Super G and Overall Crowns. Vonn, Gut and Veith all battling it out across Downhill, Super G and Giant Slalom is a mouth watering prospect for the season.
Wendy Holdener achieved a dream in taking the Alpine Combined Globe and challenging for the Slalom Globe as well. With Schild there to provide support as well, the Slalom Queens are moving forward.
The season ended with a thrilling set of speed races that saw Beat Feuz win back to back races at the World Cup Finals after having only rejoined the World Cup in Wengen. Leading up to Wengen, Feuz was just getting better and better as his fitness returned and he got stronger. Watch out for Feuz this winter leading up to the World Championships in St Moritz, the same slope that he won the final two races of last season on!
Another racer that saved his best for the end of the season was Erik Guay. Guay is a seasoned professional and benefitted from listening to his body so that he could conserve himself for big per-formances: His third place at St Moritz in the World Cup Finals was just reward for the hard work he did through the season.
While the men achieved two clean sweeps of the podium last season (Val Gardena Super G and Alta Badia Parallel GS), the win of Andre Myhrer in the final Slalom was a poignant moment for the HEAD team. Myhrer had banished the lack of a podium since 2008 from the records with second in Naeba, Japan and then went on to win in St Moritz. With aspirations to fight for wins in the Giant Slalom as well, Myhrer is looking strong this season.
The return of Ted Ligety and Aksel Lund Svindal from injuries suffered during last season is great news. Ligety has been known as Mr GS for his ability to make the 35m radius Giant Slalom skis move the way he wants them to. Ligety will be looking to recapture his form for the last season of the 35m radius skis before they change to 30m radius in 2017.
The injury Svindal suffered in Kitzbuehel deprived the World Cup of one of the most exciting racers of this generation. A fully fit Svindal along with Kjetil Jansrud is a joy to see as they battle their way down the World Cup slopes. With the strength in depth of the HEAD World Cup Rebel’s in the speed races, the return of Dustin Cook as well as Matthias Mayer (injured in Val Gardena) along with Svindal should help the Rebels retain their undoubted strength in depth for the new season.
The Rebels Club is your chance now to join the excitement and passion of the athletes throughout the season. From Soelden to Aspen with the World Championships in St Moritz, this promises to be another season to thrill and enjoy alongside the best athletes in the world.